Combating the Damage of Dry Rot

Many roofing issues are those that you can see with the naked eye simply by glancing up from outside your home.  Some are inside, too; a leak in your living room may be an indication of damage up above.  However, there are some that can cause problems both in and outdoors which may not be as visible as other problems, but which can be just as destructive over time.

A Problematic, Thirsty Fungus

Dry rot is “caused by a fungus that feeds on wood and weakens it.”  Because it eats away at the wood, it can cause heavy damage to the roof and surrounding structure and makes for a dangerous and potentially unstable situation.  If the fungus is growing on an older home, it could be that there had been no previous protection against dry rot, which makes the circumstances more perilous.

So, where to begin?  Despite the name, the decay does rely on a water source to begin wreaking havoc.  Starting the search for this fungus where there is moisture, either inside or outside, is a good idea.  Outdoors, a likely culprit may be a spout or gutter that is cracked or broken somehow and is leaking as a result.  If this has been going on for a while, then you’ll likely be able to see the damage (“cracking, splits, and discoloration“) if dry rot has begun growing.  If you catch the leak beforehand, then you can repair it as needed (or call someone to do so) before the fungus can take hold.

While inspecting the area, don’t forget that the target of dry rot is wooden surfaces.  Siding, ledges, and decks can all fall prey to dry rot, especially if there is a water source nearby that feeds into it.  Heading inside, the first stop should be areas with plumbing, faucets, etc. such as the basement.  They’re often damp, which encourages the fungus’ growth, and may have leaky pipes, water heaters, or other appliances that give of condensation.

At the other end of the house, up in the attic, there could be signs of rot if there is not proper ventilation.  See to these issues and to cleanup if the growth is present to prevent its spread.  “There may also be rot hidden behind flooring, drywall or siding, which may only be apparent by some discoloration or noticing the material does not feel structurally sound under weight or pressure,” so don’t think that it isn’t there simply because you don’t see it.

If you are planning on tending to dry rot yourself after finding it in or out of your house, consider that it spreads quickly and so you need to act faster than it can grow.  To prevent that, you’ll need to cut off its “food source,” or the origin of the leak or water that is fueling it.  It may be a bigger job than you anticipate, so consider your safety before attempting any wood replacement and give a professional roofing contractor a call if you have any doubts.  Finally, a few preventative measures to keep dry rot from eating away at your home are:

  • “Properly ventilate and insulate your attic.
  • Seal basement and crawlspace floors to reduce ground moisture.
  • Keep up on painting and caulking.
  • Keep drains and downsputs clear.”

For more information on dry rot removal, or for advice, services, or for a free estimate for your roof, get in touch with Cox Roofing today.

Cox Roofing:

Cox Roofing is a full-service, certified roofing contractor providing residential and commercial roofing services to the state of Maryland, with particular focus on Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County and Howard County. We pride ourselves on our personalized service which transforms your property into the residence or business of your dreams. Get in touch for your free estimate today.

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